Spader, Shatner Lead a Somber ABC Fall
At Monday's unveiling of NBC's upcoming fall schedule, comic relief Conan O'Brien told advertisers and TV journalists that, given the network's loss of Friends and Frasier, "The funniest guy in NBC prime time is Stone Phillips."
On Tuesday, ABC unveiled its fall lineup. The bottom line: Drama is king. All of the comedies ABC introduced this year, except for Hope and Faith, are expected to be canceled.
The third-ranked network is set to launch four new shows in the fall, including David E. Kelly's The Practice: Fleet Street, the successor series to his long-running legal hit, with James Spader taking his role of lawyer Alan Shore from the old show to the spinoff. William Shatner will also be added to the cast, reports The New York Times.
The other dramas include Desperate Housewives, from the producers of Melrose Place; the teen drama Life As We Know It and Lost, an action adventure series from JJ Abrams, the creator of Alias, which was the last drama to find success on ABC.
The critically lauded series, which debuted in 2001 and stars Jennifer Garner, will be back for its fourth season this fall – despite tepid ratings.
Later this season, ABC will add producer Steven Bochco's Blind Justice, to follow the conclusion of NYPD Blue. ABC has waiting in the wings the private investigator tale Eyes, starring Tim Daly, and the hospital drama Grey's Anatomy to serve as midseason replacements, reports Reuters.
The only other returning drama is NYPD Blue, heading into its 12th year.
"Drama has been broken at ABC, there's no question," ABC's newly installed chief programmer, Stephen McPherson, said at a press conference. "We feel like we have the goods this year."